Coming to life in the garden

The garden is just beginning to bring forth what will be many blooming shrubs and flowers. One of my favorites is the Black Lace Elderberry.  This shrub is best in a corner because it spreads up and sideways.  In the spring it has these lovely light pink flowers amid the dark leaves.  It requires light, but otherwise is a no maintenance addition to the garden.  It thrives in heat and drought and looks good all season.  Love it!

Summer Shrub

Summer Shrub



Now I can relax

OK, shopping is done, shipping is done, let the real holiday begin.  I was late getting into the holiday this year. Between Thanksgiving being so late in the month and then immediately getting ill, I was way behind in getting everything having to do with the holiday done.  The house was not decorated, the shopping was not done and I was behind at work as well.

But now that I have everything but one item in the mail or being delivered by my niece, I can finally relax and really enjoy the several days off that I am taking this week.  There are so many reasons why I love being self-employed, but one of the best ones is definitely being able to design my own schedule and take time off without having to ask for permission from anyone.  I am really looking forward to a week off, seeing movies with my daughter and friends, reading a couple of books and basically just chilling.

Laura and I start another year of photography in January and I have time this week to give some thought to how and what we are going to do.  I want to really give some thought to the projects this year, be serious about learning more and take some great photos.  We are all taking a big trip this year and by the time we leave for it, I want to know more about my camera in a way that will facilitate me taking some great shots of this trip.

I am going to eat less meat in 2015 and this week I want to find some recipes that I can have available to make the transition to pescetarian smoother.

I want to take some time this week to remember what I am grateful for and to write down my mantras for 2015.  What thoughts am I going to allow to pass through my brain, what energy am I going to release out into the universe, what do I want to  see happen in my life in 2015 and let’s start thinking it and expecting it.  I find that having a plan and writing it down really helps ground me and make me feel more in control of what is happening in my life.  I have been floundering too long without a plan and it has been too unsettling. This week I change that.

So, come to find out, I have a lot to do with this week, but, still, I am looking forward to it.


An Evening with a Friend

So, it is about 20 degrees here and it has been snowing all day.  I have yet to get out of my pajamas.  I did finally get everything out of the dining room because a friend invited me to the “red carpet” opening of the a Denver Film Festival film and so I invited her to dinner here first.

I love a reason to finally get something accomplished that I have stalled and procrastinated with.  So today, I was forced to find a home for everything in the dining room that was put there when the kitchen was painted.  It felt good to get that room back.  I now have the table set for Cream of Asparagus soup, a great loaf of bread with garlic I am roasting and the Basil Infused Olive Oil that Laura and I bought during an olive oil tasting while in Napa, plus some of the Domaine Chandon bubbly we had shipped home.  Fortunately, I could spend the day cleaning and de-cluttering because I made the soup a week or so ago and froze it for a day like today.  My daughter does not like this particular soup, so this is the perfect night to use it.

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I am just very pleased with the clean house and the evening ahead.  It will be a nice, warm dinner with a good friend followed by The Imitation Game about the man who cracked the code used by the Germans in World War 2.  These kind of spontaneous get-togethers make me happy.  I love having my friends over and wish I did it more often, but sadly, my house is almost always in some sort of disarray and all of my friends’ houses always appear to be in perfect condition.

But for now, the kitchen is clean, a cool new sign hangs on the wall that I found just yesterday on Antique Row, dinner was made ahead of time, the dining room is clear of clutter and looks welcoming and I have a nice evening ahead.  I am going to need to bundle and layer up, but am still looking forward to it.



The Sisters’ Project 2.0

So last year as I walked into a Home Depot, an idea came to me about how Laura and I could work on our photography.  We would take at least one photo every day for a year and post one and only one photo from every day onto Flickr accounts that only she and I could see.  We started on November 1, 2013 and started taking photographs every day and then posting one of them to the Flickr account.  Initially we were very good about taking the photo for each day and posting it the same day, but as time passed, we would get a few days behind on posting, but still had to take at least one photo every day.  Some days were very challenging and given that it was fall/winter, we were stuck in our homes looking for something to take a picture of.  There were a lot of holiday themed photos.  My daughter would laugh at me wondering around the house at 9:30pm looking for something to take a photo of.  Some of those photos had the look and feel of desperation, but some of them proved to be a great exercise in really finding creativity.

Over the 12 months we committed to this project, we tweaked the rules a little.  After probably 3 months of “photo every day”, we started to add themes or exercises to each week.  We worked with color, motion, textures and patterns, water, etc., in order to 1) give us something to focus on so we weren’t walking around aimlessly looking for a shot and 2) to force us to think about what would represent the theme well and how to work with our camera to capture a shot.  We had some weeks that we got behind and then made new rules for how to get caught up, but we ended the year-long project on October 31st of this year with 365 photos in our Flickr Daily Photo Album.  I am really proud of how we stayed committed and stuck with the project for a full 365 days.  I learned a lot about my camera, I learned a lot about how to find an interesting photo; it was a good project and I am glad I had a sister who was willing to go along with the idea.

At the end of that first year’s project, we decided to also start this blog as a way of continuing with our photography, but expanding it to our other areas of interest that would add some variety to what we think about every day.  I love the blog so far.  We do not have any rules, we just blog whenever the moment hits us and we can post photos as well as other content.

However, we are supposed to be starting another year-long project centered on photography and I am finding it hard to get motivated to start.  I need a fresh idea, I need inspiration, I need something to get me going.  I am considering asking Laura if we should take a 2 month break and start the year on Jan 1.  I need a creative breakthrough, I have photographer’s block. I’m tired of my house, I’m tired of my yard, I need a new perspective…Send help!

The great thing about photography is that I can see Laura and I continuing with it for many, many years to come.  We plan on traveling together just so we can take photographs that we have time to plan and think about and work until we get a perfect photo.  Non-photographers do NOT want to travel with you when you slow down for every possible photo and thus the photographer never really gets to work with their camera, the setting and the light to get that really awesome shot. I look forward to trips when we just park ourselves in a place that we will make a thorough photographic study of.

Now if creative inspiration would just float down and settle into the right side of my brain so I could get going on the current project….


Our trip to Napa California wine country

My sister invited me to join her tennis group,eight ladies counting me, on a wonderful girls trip to Napa and San Francisco, California.  We began our journey on a Thursday where we flew into San Francisco and traveled into Napa where our first adventure began at Domain Chandon.  The group, with the exception of me, likes Champagne and this place has some of the best. It was a beautiful setting and while they sipped on the bubbly, I roamed around and took some photos.  After that we made our way to a lovely house we had rented that had a pool and backed up to a vineyard (can I just say really wonderful setting).  My flight was very early and I was on central time, so by the time we made it the house, I was ready for bed.  Since we had a full few days ahead, I did not want to begin sleep deprived.  We had many activities planned including the rental of a limousine where we tasted at four different wineries – we determined driving would not be a good idea since we were all going to imbibe.  Some tennis was played (this was a tennis group after all – I on the other hand don’t play.  Again, some photo taking time for me). We shopped, we ate, a lot, and we drank, a lot. On Sunday we had brunch plans at a french restaurant in Yountville named Bouchon.  While trying to decide on which dish I wanted, the server was telling us about the wine selections.  My favorite wine is a Chardonnay and she described this one as having a buttery flavor and a hint of oak. Great!  My favorite!  I heard her say the wine was $25.00 a carafe.  Wow!  I thought, that sounds great.  That is the perfect blend of flavors I like in a wine so I ordered a glass.  It was so good, I ordered another glass.  The food was a bit expensive, but I could see that on the menu.  It was truly wonderful food.  Then the bill came.  Well, my hearing was off, because it was not $25.00 a carafe, it was $25.00 a glass – and I had two!! That is the most expensive wine I have ever had.  And the worst part is I don’t even know the name of the wine so I can impress someone with casually mentioning I had a couple glasses of ????I Oh well, I was on vacation wasn’t I?  When I got home and was telling my husband the wine story, I mentioned only the one glass.  Sometimes he thinks I don’t listen well, and I saw no need to confirm that thought.  All in all it was a wonderful trip, and I appreciated my sister asking me to tag along.


Chihuly Nights Denver Botanic Gardens

It was a beautiful fall night at the Denver Botanic Gardens.  It was just warm enough and I was viewing with a good friend.  The photos look like there was much more daylight than there actually was.  The Pentax K3 did a great job with the low light, because I did not use any flash, but did use a tripod.

After our first circle of the gardens, we had a nice snack at the outdoor patio with a table that overlooked the pond with the purple spires.  The first photo was taken from our table.  I really love the photo of the bee habitat with the green ceramic pot in it.  The wood structures were built with solitary bees in mind with bamboo pieces and blocks of wood with holes drilled so that solitary bees could make their home in them.  I think I will have to make one of those for my yard.  Pat and I might make this a fall/winter craft project.  What a creative idea for making habitats for little creatures that looks good wherever you might place it.  I love to steal other people’s very creative ideas.  We all need to do our part to help keep a healthy bee population.  Solitary bees are easy to make room for, it does not have to be bees that live in hives.  A little less pesticide, a little more consideration of what will allow bees to grow in population so we can continue to have the volume and variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers that we all love.

As it got dark, many of the sculptures were beautifully lit, so well lit that they were hard to photograph with my meager skills.  Our botanic garden is just so well done, such a lovely place to spend an evening.  The gazebo shown in the photos with the green roof would be a great place to have an afternoon tea party,  a birthday party or just a cozy lunch with friends.

Once I am retired, there are very interesting classes offered by the garden that I would love to take.  This garden is a real testament to why we need green spaces in our urban centers because there is something so intrinsic about being close to living, growing green spaces with all the variety of natural beauty that can be maintained in a small space.